When you think of some of the world’s coolest brands, what companies come to mind? Possibly — Apple, Aston Martin, Nike, Rolex, Courvoisier … and the list goes on.
More importantly, what makes these brands and numerous others so cool? According to branding experts, a cool brand has to “have its own personality and retain its individuality in an ever-changing environment,” says Siobhan Curtin, marketing manager for Piaggio, which markets the enduringly chic Vespa brand. “It has to retain an air of exclusivity, but at the same time appear to be achievable to everyone (Brand Republic).”
Creating an Enduringly Cool Brand
When you’re ready to develop brand positioning and create an ‘it factor’ for your company, are you marketing yourself as a brand leader that is unique and original?
Most entrepreneurs dream of leading an iconic company and becoming a sought-after industry magnate. While many hope for this status, few achieve it. Therefore we’ve asked some of the nation’s leading brand consultants, branding agencies and entrepreneurs to share their tips on how your small business can create a unique brand identity and become cool.
1. Keep your promises.
Make a single promise that is different yet meaningful to customers—then keep it better than anyone else. Your brand is essentially a promise that your business must fulfill. Make the right promise, to the right customers, for the right reasons—and keep it. People will talk about you and your brand will go far.
2. Start with strategy.
A disciplined process must be followed that includes discovery (performing internal and external brand audits), planning, and innovation. The innovation phase should start with defining the verbal expression of the brand–its vision, mission, various brand attributes, personality, etc. This document should be well thought out and articulate so the execution of the visual brand expression follows a clear direction. Once the visual expression is complete, all elements should be combined into a final brand identity guide to serve as a reference point for all marketing communications across a variety of channels.
3. Define your key targeted personas.
Define your unique selling proposition: “We are the ONLY ________ that _________.” In 2011 and beyond, your brand is continuously co-created with everyone who comes into contact with your business, so decide how every part of your organization continuously reflects that experience.
4. Include special touches.
Think about the last time you got a special invitation in your (real-life, physical) mailbox that made you feel special. Was it mass-printed and addressed to “Current Resident” or was it hand-addressed directly to YOU? When you design your brand for your ideal clients, think about those special touches that will show them that you were thinking just about them.
5. Sell an experience.
Businesses are obsessed with advertising their products, forgetting that people don’t buy products… people buy experiences. That’s why Harley-Davidson can outsell nearly every motorcycle manufacturer despite a much higher price. It is why Apple’s iPad outsells every other tablet computer no matter what price point or features the competitors offer. Remember, people don’t buy toothpaste, they buy whiter teeth and a healthy mouth. So focus your efforts on the experience your product offers- not the product itself.
6. Know who your target market is.
The more you know about your audience the easier it is to create strategic marketing messages that convince them you are the person to buy from, work with, or hire. As one provides specialized value to their target market, they then become the “go-to” person in their niche.